Youth Vote Very Important For 2012 Election [AUDIO]
It's must see TV for college students, as dozens of students turn out to watch public viewings of the 2012 Presidential Debates at Monmouth University.
Even with the addition of chairs from nearly every surrounding classroom, the club room in the club room at Magill Commons at Monmouth University is standing room only for the debate.
The student's interest is far from a shock to Joseph Patten, Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, who says the youth vote, is largely responsible for President Obama's 2008 election victory.
"While in 2008 a lot was made over race and gender with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the primaries, in many ways it was a generational thing and for the first time in political history young people came out and moved a national election."
Patton is the chair at the political science and sociology department at Monmouth University. He organized the watching party, which in addition to screening the debate, featured voting registration and discussion of how the candidates did.
While the youth vote is attributed to the president's last victory, Patten reminds that the youth vote turned out in record numbers as far back as 2004.
"In 2000 there were about sixteen million young voters, between the ages of 18 and 29, in 2004 that went up to twenty million. So between 2004 and 2008 it only jumped two million to twenty two million."
"I think in large part because of partisan gerrymandering we don't have competition in our congressional elections and because of that we have a lot of single party districts. Which means that Republicans in Congress are much more conservative and Democrats are much more liberal, and the American public is still somewhat pretty moderate."
He notes Moderates are disappearing from Congress. With only ten percent of Congress being considered Moderate as opposed to twenty years ago when 40% of the House was.